F1 Winter Break
Europe clinging on to its F1 venues
Posted By: James Allen  |  24 Apr 2012   |  7:49 am GMT  |  200 comments

There has been some movement in the future shape of the F1 calendar with confirmation from Bernie Ecclestone that from next year onwards Valencia and Barcelona will share a slot. And at the same time he said that a deal has been concluded for France to return to the schedule, in a deal alternating with the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa.

“The deal is done,” said Ecclestone. “We agreed the financial terms last Tuesday with the minster of sport, David Douillet. As soon as France is ready, we will sign.”

The sign off for the French Grand Prix is clearly waiting for the French presidential election to be concluded, as is usually the way. It looks quite possible that there could be a new administration in France. Although everyone is working on the assumption that the French race will take place at Paul Ricard in the South of France, paddock sources suggested to me at the weekend not to discount a possible switch and a return to Magny Cours, which hosted the race from 1991 to 2008.

Apparently Paul Ricard, owned by Ecclestone, is not a straightforward proposition as the access roads are not good for a large crowd and there are no grandstands, so temporary ones would have to be erected. There are likely to be political considerations as well, depending on the outcome of the election.

With a French president of the FIA, who is due to face a re-election himself in 18 months time, the French have been making serious efforts to regain their place on the calendar, the French GP not having taken place since 2008. Magny Cours dropped off because of local government finance reasons primarily. The circuit is up to current F1 standards and always provided great racing.

Its return would give Michael Schumacher something to smile about; he won eight times at Magny Cours.

Europe is clinging to its F1 venues, with the financial crisis in the Eurozone set to continue and intensify in the next few years, while there are new venues further afield willing to pay higher sanctioning fees.

Mexico is likely to put a deal together soon, with telecoms billionaire Carlos Slim currently pushing Sergio Perez. If Perez gets into a Ferrari in the near future you can be sure that a Mexican Grand Prix won’t be too far behind. Argentina is pushing hard for a return, while Russia is already scheduled for 2014, New Jersey will have a slot in 2013, probably in June, to tie in with Montreal.

This will leave just seven events; Britain, Monaco, Italy, Spain, Germany, France/Belgium and Hungary as the only European races on a 20 race calendar.

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Im properly gutted that we have the prospect of Spa once every two years?! Why!?



It will be sad for F1 not to race on arguably the best F1 circuit of them all.


I'll miss Spa annually, but if they can't pay the bills I'd rather see it every other year than not at all.


It's the same as in football, you begin to realise the actual fans don't matter. The real money comes from sponsors and corporate guests, and they don't like traditional but downtrodden facilities. They like new venues in luxurious places with all mod cons in the paddock.


Most spectators like new and clean facilities.

It's not a Bernie or F1 thing. It is both common sense but something that actually matters to people leaving a review on our site.

Most spectators (and whoever accompany them if not fans themselves) aren't prepared to rough it up. Circuit venues lose revenue from bad word of mouth. The only exception to the rule so far is Silverstone. Let's also see how the Buddh International Circuit fares in 2012 as facilities were reported as well below par.

Having attended the last Singapore GP as a corporate guest, I can also assure you the people at our table were as hooked about F1 as any other fan (except for a professional dragster driver). They wear team gear and know their F1 stuff, both men and women.

The only difference between them and the general admission or grandstand spectators is the amount of disposable income.


Because for Bernie, the sport in F1 happens at the box office, not on the track. Once all you Europeans cry uncle about loosing your races, he'll charge you more to attend them when he brings them back.

The sooner Bernie retires, the sooner F1 becomes the sport it once was.


Better the devil you know.

Bernie appears to keep a good balance between all parties and usually negotiate a good deals, spectators and TV viewers included.

He understands F1, but I'm not convinced whoever comes in next might be anywhere as good to keep all stake holders happy.


No one is showing up to the race. They can't make any money if no one shows up to the race.


No one showed up to the Bahrain Grand Prix though. They need an Arab royal family to buy Belgium.


Not trying to make a point but that was one 'mostly full' small grandstand, all the rest were empty.

Even putting a rather large spin on it the organisers could only muster 28,000 for race day.


There aren't many people in those sideways images of one grandstand. I wasn't there, but journalists who were said the crowd was thin. From the Guardian:

"Al Zayani... did, though, give some seriously implausible figures. He claimed that 28,000 spectators attended the race, even though the empty stands suggested that Bahrain had voted with it's weary feet. It was claimed that 70,000 had come to the three days of racing, surely another gross exaggeration."



noone showed up?

they showed some shots of the grandstand on sky during the race & they were packed.




there was also an ariel shot which showed tons of people not in the grandstands but sitting at tables under umbrellas in the infield.



Qatar is buying France at the moment. Belgium shouldn't be too far. 🙂


bahrains stands looked emptier than spa by a country mile i thought. Spas a huge event in f1.


Bahraini Sheikhs have almost unlimited oil revenue. What is 40 m a year for them.

For Europeean cities that is now a big amount.


Yes but the government heavily subsidise the race in Bahrain same for Abu Dhabi also the new race in Texas has a $250m subsidy from the Austin City Council over the next 10 years. Bernie does not control the prices for the tickets (Except the Paddock Club) Its up to the circuit owners to charge what ever they want and admit who they want. As long as they pay Bernie the race hosting fee (Anywhere from $25m - $40m a race - rumored) he does not care where the circuit owners get the money from. Races like Silverstone have no subsidy so Silverstone has to recover all of the race hosting fee (+VAT) from the GA tickets. There will always be less and less european races while foreign governments are willing to subsidise large race hosting fees.


Because you can't ask the Belgian government to borrow money to keep the race on?




Because Spa can't make any money. I am glad to see it alternating still, rather than just gone off the calendar. What a shame that would be!

It makes no business sense, but Spa should be given a pass just because it is the best race track in the world... but that is obviously not something that the new F1 wants.


your wrong as chuck norris at a flower show.


Because if you build a new circuit, you get a grand prix!! I mean if you build one, your going to want to use it!! Bernie loves a new modern track, and would rather sell F1 on a boring, modern, soulless track with top notch facilities (probably for all his VIP’s), rather than an old track that get’s the fan’s juices going!! This is what attracts companies like sky (that and all the overtaking now, cough, cough, I mean DRS)

I love watching races and thinking Mansell pulled off that great move in that corner, or thinking this is where Senna pulled off yet another great pole lap, and can anyone look at the chicane at Suzuka with out thinking Prost and Senna etc. This though I’m afraid is a bygone era. Take Abu Dhabi for example, best circuit in the world for so many reasons, but can it give us an exciting race – No. What’s it famous for, Petrov holding up Alonso all race and handing the world championship to Vettel. Fortunately there’s away round this problem now, as mentioned above – DRS.


the reason for all these great passes is because cars back then were not aerodynamic dependent as todays cars


Totally. sake. probably gonna just take my own life. nothing else for it.


No money for one - the usual main cause.

If I remember right 40k race attendance for two.

Which to me is a huge letdown. When you hear how people feel about Spa that place should be oversubscribed every year.


I want to go to Spa. I looked into it, it's too expensive, just like all Grand Prix except Monaco, ironically. If they reduced the price they'd fill the place and probably make more money overall, but I guess with the fees they have to pay they can't take the risk.



Dedication is going all the way to Japan to watch a race! Sleeping on the hill is easy and cheap - you should do it just for the hell of it. Monaco is alive on Saturday night of the grand prix weekend - music everywhere, bars spilling out on to the track - so you don't have to actually do much sleeping.

Alonso won in 2006. He was cruising from about half way through. I remember thinking how obvious it is to see the difference between flat out and cruising at Monaco, because you can measure it by how close to the barriers they get. Schumacher was visibly faster than everyone else, it was a great drive. And I remember Fisichella was good too, pulling off a few overtakes.

I don't give Schumi the benefit of the doubt on the parking incident, but that willingness to push the rules up to and beyond the limit is what made/makes Schumacher great and why I love to watch him race. Senna did controversial things - I was a kid and a Mansell fan at the time so I hated him for it, but in retrospect it was part of his greatness too. And Hamilton has the same streak in him, which is why he's exciting to watch.



Too late! My second boy is named Michael. It has little to do with Schumi though. I always thought it was a good name.

I'll tell you what I wish - that I did the sleeping on the hill thing. It's one heck of a story you've got. The only way that story would show more dedication is if it was a cold and rainy night.

I'll tell you something else about spot reservation, Japan is amazing. Do you know that if that hill was in Japan, you would just lay down your blanket and leave, and no one would dare take your spot? Perhaps a tourist - but small chance of that. When we went to Suzuka we met this fluently Japanese speaking Irish dude who walked the track with our group. And when we got to the hairpin, we saw blankets reserving spots. And I asked the guy - people will respect this "spot reservation". And without doubt he said - absolutely. And after seeing 30000 people line up for the Friday afternoon track from Suzuka in most orderly fashion did I grasp the respect for order and personal space Japanese people have. Such order sure wouldn't happen in Monaco on the Hill!

And since we're back on Monaco 2006, looking back on that Schumi quali move, on purpose or not - it was one heck of a foxy move. Hero or zero kind of play that brings drama. I'm still in the camp that gives Schumi the benefit of the doubt. 🙂

Anyhow, I don't rememember who won that day off the top - I think maybe JPM or Alonso? But I do rememeber his drive to 5th. I find that one a bit strange, because you're always supposed to remember the winner vividly, right?

Foghorn Leghorn

With all of Red Bull's wealth it would be great to see them return the Osterreichring's layout to it's former glory before Tilke got his hands on it in 1996...


I was at Spa 2 years ago. IMHO it's the best track on the calendar; sweeping high speeds bends/straights and crazy hills.. what more could you want! It was however quite a mission from Liege via public transport and the cheapest (GA) ticket I could get for race day was 150 euros. It rained virtually the whole day and the sun never even looked like making an appearance. The track is amazing but the facilities (apart from the food) left something to be desired. Having just attended Melbourne the difference is staggering. Despite all that I'm a traditionalist and would love to keep this on the calendar full time.. all we need to return now is the Osterreichring!



(Don't call your kid Schumi.)

You make Spa sound as good as it looks. I know all the harsh realities of Bernie's philosophy but it is absurd for a sport to ditch some of the best, most iconic things about itself.

Sleeping on the hill at Monaco is a stupid idea, but it is interesting. I don't usually go in for national stereotypes, but it was impossible not to notice that the German Schumacher fans actually rebuilt bits of the hill, using only garden tools and the Protestant work ethic. They excavated, noisily, creating flat steps out of the slope where they pitched big tents. And there was our little group of English with nothing but ground sheets and fizzy wine, endlessly rolling down the hill.

I found out Schumacher had been penalised on Saturday night in a really cool restaurant at the top of Monaco, or possibly in Beausoleil, near the public toilets (when your accommodation is a hill the location of public toilets takes on previously unimagined importance). The waiter told me and I didn't believe him. Next morning from about 8am they had the stewards' statement on a loop on the tannoy with the replay on the big screen. I started off defending Schumacher but once you've had to watch him park 100 times it becomes difficult.

The Germans didn't like it one bit.


This is the view. And what a view!


You want Fries with that? Why not? You're standing right next to the chips place in this photo.



You are hard core! Sleeping on the hill! Risking life and limb! That was 2006 by the way, I was there too! How about another !!!

We were in Nice on a patio hanging out with fans from around the world around 8PM or so Saturday after quali, and suddenly it was a wave of cell calls and chatter which was significantly more than normal. News just came down that Schumi was DQed. And then, next day he produced that incredible drive of strategy and determination that just gave me chills.

I'm about to have my 3rd boy, and I was looking into the F1 Encycopedia for name ideas yesterday, and noticed that Schumi is our last link to the past. He is the only one on the track who drove against Senna, Prost, Mansell, Villeneuve II, to name a few. Every champion of last 25 years I think. And this year - 2012 could be the last time he drive at Spa. If he extends by a year and Spa skips 2013, then still - last chance to see Schumi content his "home" GP.

Don't miss it F1 fans. I went to Spa for last race with V10 and crazy RPMs - 2005 if I remember right. Seems like not that long ago. All I will say is Fries with Mayo and possibly Mustard while watching the cars jump out of Eau Rouge bottom right into your sight of vision with exhausts pointing right at you is an enlightening experience.


Thanks for a really great comment


I've been watching Grand Prix on the TV for over 30 years but I've only ever attended one - at Spa - Eau Rouge was truly spectacular - it was in the Mansell Senna Prost days (I got Nigel's autograph)

However, the weather was cold and damp, the commentary over the pa was inaudible and in French. I had a grandstand seat overlooking the old pits and so a good view of Eau Rouge but it was difficult to work out what was going on. To cap it all, the man in the next seat chain smoked Gitanes for the entire duration of practice, qualifying and race and made me feel quite ill.

It's always been TV for me since!


I watched from the hill above Rascasse the year Schumacher parked there. It was 50 Euros.

I also slept on the hill. I don't recommend it. You roll down the slope as soon as you go to sleep, and then in the morning a load of people come and steal your place.

Great weekend though!


I think he means 'relatively' expensive. F1 Fanatic did a round up of 2011/2012 ticket prices, with Spa & Silverstone literally biting at the heels of Monaco's cheaper seats. They're both exploiting heritage to drive ticket prices (although Silverstone can at least justify it with the recent redevelopment).

The principality will always cost the most, but people go there expecting the cheaper seats, whereas with most other GPs people target as best a seat as possible.


You have to go. It is truly an experience. You can just stand in the vendor area and as you look at Eau Rouge they just come out of the ground and shoot up. It only looks that way in person and I never saw anything like it. Amazing.

Best vendor area food too in my view. You can go to Karpen an hour or so out and shoot around on Schimi's karting centre - awesome place.

And what do you mean Monaco is cheap? I paid 500 euro each for K1. Not unless you get GA and watch from a km away is Monaco cheap. No GP is cheap, only US was.


$$$. The race doesn't draw enough people and Spa is not convenient enough for the corporate sponsors. A sad thing that Spa will be reduced to every other year but race fans do not run F1, finance people do.


Great idea Bernie. Ditching the best circuit on the calendar!


A simple suggestion - BE funds the entire cost of the race at Spa out of his own vast fortune, as an act of kindness and a favour to the millions of fans around the world who love the circuit, and in recognition of the fact that so many of these fans have contributed to his wealth over the years.

When asked why he has done it, he says "I have made a lot of money out of F1 over the years. This is my chance to give something special back to the fans, and it's a pleasure to do it".


The bit that makes me laugh is this:

"Apparently Paul Ricard, owned by Ecclestone, is not a straightforward proposition as the access roads are not good for a large crowd and there are no grandstands, so temporary ones would have to be erected."

Why isn't Ecclestone giving himself as hard a time as he gave Silverstone? I demand media quotes in which he denounces himself as an amateur.

I just hope Bahrain was the beginning of the end for him.


My fear is that F1 is going to suddenly boom to far higher levels inc financially from all angles and then suddenly implode far more quickly!


it all sounds like the last gasp efforts of a man in his final living years quickly as possible trying to accumulate as much financial funds for his nearest and dearest as opposed to looking after the interests of F1 where its came from and what its about.


The end of an annual race at Spa is sad. But it reflects the current state of the world today. I don't see manufacturers complaining. That is because they expect a major chunk of their revenues to be outside of the EU.

The simple fact is Europe is not what it once was. This is just a side effect.


BE has NOT cared about F1 in ten years all he cares about is money


Bernie couldn't care less about the tracks, or what the fans think for that matter. As long as he can get buckets of $$$ from the Middle East, USA, Russia etc, they can keep churning out more and more uninspired, boring Tilke tracks and he'll eagerly go there..... until someone comes along with even more $$$ and he'll drop them like a hot potato. What the fans think doesn't count because there's simply no money in ticket sales (when was the last time a venue/promoter reported making a decent profit from a GP?) - all the revenue comes from 'sanctioning fees' so nothing else counts.

Stuart Harrison

Yeah, I'm gutted to be losing Valencia as well 🙁


Isn't that what Bernie wants tho,seems he hates all European races. It's a sad day when a track like Spa has to alternate and crap like Valencia is still there.


Entirely agree. Spa isn't just one of the most historic, challenging, visually impressive and unpredictable circuits, but it also normally gives excellent races! It sums up pretty much everything great about F1. But then again, it doesn't really matter what we think. We're fans, and fans don't swell Bernie's coffers as much as race contracts with countries with dull, identikit tracks and no history (and therefore no gravitas) where interest in F1 is far lower than in Europe. It's such a massive, massive shame.


agree. Barcelona and Valencia alternating is no biggie, but Spa? It's as iconic as Monaco.

Ecclestone is driving me mad.


Mexico, Argetine, Russia - these countries all have millions living in abject poverty, Shame on their governments for spending their resources on F1.

If F1 is unable to come up with the concessions to allow the fan's favourite track (Spa) to remain on the calendar on an annual basis, I despair.


Actually, the F1 spotlight really helps the local economy of these countries to have a grand prix on.

Malaysia is a success story in the making and others will be following their footsteps in the future.

Belgium has a mature economy and make a financial loss out of hosting the race. I struggle to see why Belgians would have to put up and shut up just so that the rest of the world can enjoy the Belgian GP.

Besides, at the moment, it is only an assumption that the French GP would replace the Belgian round.


Conclusions leapt to and words put in my mouth in typical forum fashion.

No one said the Belgians need to 'put up and shut up'. I specifically said "If F1 is unable to come up with the concessions...." I.e. F1 responding to the desires of its fans and cuting Spa a deal as it is so well liked by fans all over the world.

As for the rest of the replies here, they seem to rely heavily on the idea that 'mature' economies fund these events. They don't, Government in the UK contributes precisely nothing to F1, the money largely comes from private enterprise so the state on the ecomony is irrelevant.


Nobody is putting words in your mouth. A concession to Spa would set an illogical precedent which is probably why this suggestion has been dismissed. Belgium does not have a strong motorsport background and a business model a la Silverstone would not apply there.

Without the money, F1 wouldn't be what it is today. A season without Spa is not ideal but if Belgium can't afford the GP, who's going to pay for it? The taxpayer. Is this fair to them knowing the race will not add enough economic benefits to the country? Of course not.

So we are back to square one. Should we allow Mexico, Argentina or Russia to have a GP? It's up to whoever's chips in the game. If it makes business sense, I just don't see why we should deny populations to the right to have a grand prix, especially when such an event brings parallel economic benefits to said populations which could help lift them out of poverty (except Argentines who do not live in abject conditions).


@Wayne: What is good for the UK may not be for Belgium. If belgium and the local government feel that the race is not financially viable and does not warrant a large fee then that is not Bernie's fault.

Bottom line is that there is a great demand for races in venues where the potential market is bigger than small european countries. These countries are also willing to pay! None of the manufacturers are really complaning.


But a growing or strong economy creates the investment opportunity for private companies as they have confidence in being able to have a good return on their investment. Plus it will boost local economy etc. Although much bigger events than one Grand Prix, Brazil (a rapidly growing economy) has the World Cup and the Olympics. Both events need massive investment which has led to a great deal of change in the country. It is painful to see millions splashed on lavish sporting venues but it can bring about change for good. Just look at Stratford!


The USA shows 47 million people below their poverty line - the same thing could be said in many places. These events bring a lot of money to the places where they are held though. If you look at the economic impact of the region surrounding such an event, it would surely be higher than the cost of the event.


Yes these countries have millions living in poverty, but isn't America also going through a hard financial crises that require resources to go elsewhere better? The same goes to Europe.

You and I and everyone else knows F1 generates tourism, in turn generates income. You spend to gain more for the country. So what's wrong with that?


Argentina has way richer car racing history than Spain.

I am glad that Spain is losing a race,they have NEVER had a real good track.

Do not blame Bernie for this,he runs a business and the the teams demand money,they do not race for free.


I really wish we didn't go there. Bahrain just ended

- now we are going to look at poverty as cause to not have a race? It is the world we live in. Last I remeber reading 44m live below poverty line on America, and poverty is present everywhere including where you live. Let's just agree that no country on this planet is perfect and also let's recognize that F1 is first and foremost surrounded by excess.

Buy your Spa tickets people. Could be last time with Schumi!


Firstly, do you know they are going to use Government money? OK, Argentine will since it has the presidents backing, but that s actually a fairly well off country compared to the rest of South America and to the best of my knowledge doesnt have the vast sprawling slums that Brazil has.

Secondly, if we cut races because of their countries development status, I dont think we'd really be able to call this a world championship.


breaks my heart


Why can't we lose Valencia AND Barcelona, two tracks that have never really delivered and keep great tracks like Spa?


I agree to a certain extent about the potential new venues. But the idea is to generate business interest and tourism via the races to raise the profile of the country. Plus of course the races will not just be funded by the governments. Its always sad to lose European races, but as long as they take them to a country that has a genuine interest in motorsport then it's not so bad. It's when you get races like Korea that you start to wonder why.


1/3 In Asia/Middle East

1/3 In European

1/3 In North and South America


'[Magny Cours]always provided great racing.'

really? I must have missed that bit. What with there not really being any great racing from about 2000 to 2006.


Yes I must admit, great racing is not what comes to mind when I think of Magny Cours.

I'm disappointed that the only options are that and Paul Ricard. The country that gave us the name 'Grand Prix' can't come up with anything better than those two?


What about the Le Mans short circuit, motogp already go there.


The track always had good overtaking opportunities, especially the Adelaide Hairpin


If you look at the stats, Spa VASTLY outperforms Magny-Cours on number of televised overtakes.

42 Spa 28/07/2011

23 Spa 29/07/2010

22 Spa 7/08/2008

19 Magny-Cours 27/05/1999

15 Spa 30/07/1992

12 Spa 29/07/2004

12 Spa 2/08/2001

12 Spa 24/07/1997

11 Spa 27/07/1995

11 Magny-Cours 22/05/2008

MC only appears twice in the top 10

If you look at the BOTTOM 10...

5 Magny-Cours 7/06/1991

4 Spa 28/07/1994

4 Magny-Cours 3/06/2005

4 Magny-Cours 4/06/2004

4 Magny-Cours 30/05/1996

3 Magny-Cours 16/06/2006

3 Magny-Cours 6/06/2003

3 Magny-Cours 1/06/2001

2 Magny-Cours 21/06/2002

2 Magny-Cours 4/06/1993

Verdict: Magny-Cours does not usually provide great overtaking...


sorry, i'm with "really" here. worst races this side of hungary. they'll probably be able to get away with it if this fascinating tire situation continues, but 'great racing' it never was!


I always enjoyed watching the French Grand Prix at Magny Cours. Never felt it was dull even if people felt the location was dull and in the middle of nowhere. Better that than the sprawling mess's of these new tracks.


So, we're keeping Bahrain, but Spa becomes a once every two year event?

James, can you ask Bernie and the FIA if they actually like F1? Even though I suspect I already know the answer...


Yes but if you look at what's happening in the global economy, F1 is simply reflecting those shifts.


But you refer to the global economy and then we go to the oil rich Bahrain grand prix with approx a crowd of 3 and even without any terrorist/demonstration fears i doubt they would barely have passed a crowd attendance of 8!!! that cant be right.


Speaking of economy, doesn't Bernie's ex-wife own Spa?


Spa Nnnnnnnnnoooooooooooooooooooooooo......


Enjoy them while you can! We'll be heading back to Spa, hopefully not for the last time, in August and have tickets for Friday at Silverstone.

Something I've observed (on TV) about the modern circuits compared to the "heritage" venues is the lack of access around the perimeter of the track. At Spa and Silverstone you can virtually walk the entire length of the circuit. But modern venues appear to pen spectators in to designated areas, which to my mind even if only paying $80 for a weekend ticket, is a huge step backwards.

I think F1 will be forced into a retreat back to Europe one day, but for now enjoy what we have left because it will probably get worse before it gets better.


Time to consider two parallel series? A race /every/ weekend over the season? Is there enough finance to support this? I guess the split would mean two separate series? I don't see there being the energy for the present teams at their current sizes being able to support 25-30 races, but that number of races seems to be the only way to support all the venues which are willing to pay.


Bernie owns paul ricard?!! No wonder he wants to get rid of the best race of the year at spa! His love for money will ruin the sport!


James, what mechanism is in place for when Bernie moves on? Let's be honest the guy can't go on forever he is in his 80's and although he is in good health this can change overnight....

Would the whole ethos change with a new leader in place or is this a Bernie vision in line with his successors??

Some of Bernies reacent comments have been a little uncomfortable for f1 of late and haven't projected the sport in the best moral light and a realignment of the moral compas would be positive move for the sport we all love.

Keeping in touch with the fans would be a good start and keeping the sport in its heartland would be another ie Europe....

It's all about money for the little man, but you can't take it with you....


F1 doesn't need to be 'kept' in Europe. There just needs to be a greater focus on racing where is better for racing and entertainment sake, rather than just money.

We don't know how Texas, New Jersey, Sochi and any other tracks in the running will turn out - Tilke might get them right and we get something like Malaysia. Tilke might get it wrong and we get Abu Dhabi.

I personally don't care where we race as long as all the races are good - going to Spa and the other 'greats' is a bonus.


CVC has sounded out some CEO level execs and everyone waits to see what happens. There has been talk of a transfer at the end of 2013, but most people working in F1 can't really see it!


I suspect Russia will also be a European race - don't see it in Siberia somehow.


Sochi Olympic Park Circuit is what you're looking for, on the Black Sea coast just inside Europe. Climate is warmer and sunnier than London.


I know it is stating the blindingly obvious, but the only motivation for this is the self enrichment of those few who 'own' the sport. They are selling out the history and spectacle of the great European circuits and passionate, partisan crowds,and replacing them with 'play station' circuits surrounded by half empty grandstands while the show itself is turning itself into an over complicated farce with DRS, KERS, safety car lines, fragile tyres, mandatory compounds etc. I'm getting a bit borerd as a fan of seeing the sport I love being squeezed until the pips squeak just io wring out as much cash as possible to fund billionaires divorce settlements.

MotoGP anyone?



Spa is regularly voted the fans favourite race of the season, how have the teams and sports bosses and even CVC to a lesser extent come to the conclusion that it's disposable?

It's a travesty for real fans of the sport. And this is from someone who enjoyed travelling to Magny Cours, would like to see it back but not at the expense of Spa every year


I'm going to be deliberately provocative here:

There're two reasons why Spa gets bandied about as the best race/track on the calendar.

i)Spa '98

ii) Eau rouge

Neither of which provide a mandate for a permanent race at Spa.

Yes the racing at Spa is generally pretty interesting. But I think it's unfair to say that tracks like Korea/India/Malaysia can't also go on to be "classic" venues too.

Things evolve. Maybe going to Spa once a year will help make those events more special and drive up attendance?


I don't think Bernie sees it as disposable - he holds more cards than anyone else and knows that the 'heritage' circuits, specifically Spa, generate more interest in 'the show'.

The problem is he has to make sure they bring in the money and Spa just can't ever seem to do that properly, either down to mismanagement or other influences. If Bernie gives Spa a free pass, he'll have to give others with financial hardship, such as Korea, a free pass too.

I believe he's offered to buy Spa and run it himself.


What a disaster, Spa, perhaps the best circuit and always gives a great grand prix is only going to happen twice a year. Maybe Bernie done a lot for the sport in the past but in recent times he is destroying it.

TV deals were most can't see the race live in the UK(1.6m this year watching the Bahrain GP live compared to 6.1m in 2010.)

Crap circuits were DRS and rubbish tyre gimmicks have to be used to make the racing any good.

Unfair deals with different teams behind others backs. I hope Mercedes do take him to court for that one and it is nice to see someone standing up to Ecclestone.


Its got nothing to do with Bernie liking a circuit or not; nor to do with his assessment of the quality of the racing.

The man has one motivation and one only. That morivation has not changed in 50 yrs since he started selling bikes in London. Any narrow or short term decision can be blamed on this. His income is derived primarily from track owners/promoters paying stupid amounts and TV.

All he is doing is maximising his return. Any assumption that he might take decisions based on other considerations such as sentimentality, quality of the spectacle or the betterment/future of the sport is naive in the extreme. He's been doing this forever.


F1 run by a bunch of fat cats who's only consideration is how much money they can squeeze out of what used to be considered a sport.Now days it is just a business, nothing more.

All the rule changes made to promote closer racing are a farce when we lose the best F1 track

to what i consider to be financial considerations.


Wayne's right, sort out your country before you spend on frivolities.

Now on to the tracks. Valencia is crap and should be ditched.

Same applies to Hungary and Barcelona. I have been watching f1 since 1992 and yet to witness an exciting Barcelona GP.

While we're at it abu dhabi is crap also


1994 was a good one, Schumi stuck in 5th gear all race and still managed to be second. Possibly the best drive of his career I thought.

Im general though, yeah, they are a bit average.


I never liked Magny Cours, so I hope the French Grand Prix returns to Paul Ricard! But either circuit at the expense of Spa, you must be joking 🙁

James, if Mexico and Argentina returns, will it be at their old Grand Prix circuit's?

Wasn't there a rumour that South Africa would like a return to, Bernie must be loving all this competition.


Argentina's track will on the streets of Mar Del Plata, a ocean resort city.




Worldwide Grand Prix locations can be seen as a type of global economic barometer. Bernie goes where the money is, and Europe's broke, so of course it's going elsewhere. Whether one circuit is 'better for racing' than another doesn't come into it.

Geo-politics aside, this can be looked at in different ways. One one hand this is a worrying state of affairs for European F1, but on the other hand, we've had it pretty good until now, and why shouldn't other up and coming countries get their turn?

I don't like it, I think Spa should remain no matter what, but I can see why it's happening.


Terrible news, I absolutely love Spa, best GP track in the world. Would be like MotoGP ditching or alternating Phillip Island...crazy


I'd prefer no race in France to a return to Magny Cours! If they dropped it for financial reasons in 08 then what has changed in 12 ?


Why is it that f1 is prepared to pay big money to keep the current big player teams around to maintain some of the prestige and history in the sport but when it comes to hosting a gp the highest bidder wins. Surely the tracks like spa also play a big part in the history of the sport, not to mention being a driver and fan favorite. It's gotta count for something!


Money talks...


Spa will be a terrible loss. I know it needs money spent but it is probably the best circuit in F1. I guess a lot of the manufacturers in the sport will be happy to hit these new markets. Bernie staying ahead of the game as usual.


Spa? Really? Way to go Bernie...

What's next? Monaco?


Dont tempt him! I think Monaco was on the choping block a couple of years ago, no?


Bernie has got to go. He's ruining this sport for the fans and is blinded by the money involved.

He is ditching the best race of the entire calendar. I couldnt believe it when he mentioned it was in discussion a few weeks ago, and I can't believe it now.

A ludicrous decision from a man out of touch with the sport he is in charge of.


Spa once every two years, what a tragedy!

I am properly gutted. /Berniechasingdollars


It's a shame to lose Spa every other year, and it's also a shame to keep either Barcelona or Valencia. Find a more exciting track in Spain to use.

As for any future GP in Mexico, well, I suppose a slot could be vacated when the Korean Grand Prix's deal runs out. So maybe new races won't all be at the expense of European ones, especially now that the European ones have been slimmed down so much.

I have to ask too about how likely the Texas race will last given its troubled incubation. I guess we'll see in the next couple of years.


I would say that I can't believe this but it's a sad fact that I can.

I said to my wife the other day that it didn't matter to me whether the Bahrain GP went ahead or not but what did matter was that if one of the EU GPs had been cancelled the year before and possibly cancelled the next it would have been dropped straight away.

I am also gutted that in my opinion the best race (Spa) is to become once every two years.

As it was I couldn't keep up with the Bahrain GP as it was constant action in the BBC highlights & I also watch my 2 year old. When it's a full race I can keep up but not with a highlights show.

I keep meaning to get a second satellite to get the German RTL feed but I just haven't gotten around to it as yet 🙁


I would agree with that, I had real problems keeping up with the BBC highlights.

I would say the problem is, highlights arent an enjoyable way of viewing an F1 race, just my opinion sadly (as i will never give Sky any of my money, especially after today, jeremy hunt.)


why not drop Valencia and alternate the Spanish and French gp?

Why spa, you get some fantastic races there! Whilst both Spanish tracks are boring


Glad to see magny cours back on the calendar but not happy that Spa will have to alternate with it.


As we all know Bernie only cares about money, nothing else. That's why Bahrain went ahead, he was being paid.

This is why races such as Spa are dropped. Spa is a great circuit, much better than the Herman Tilke monstrosities; I'd much prefer to drop Bahrain or even Abu Dhabi to retain Spa.

With regards Valencia and Barcelona sharing the GP, why? F1 should be exciting, so boring tracks like Valencia should be dropped, surely.

One final point, what happened to a European GP which switched between several tracks, why can't we have something like that for the America's to allow racing to take place everywhere rather than tying it down to a single track?


The circuits want long term contracts to guarantee funds, plan for the future and deliver on promised developments.

Look at Silverstone - it was in a quagmire for years until Bernie magically agreed a 17 year contract. Within 2 of those years, the circuit has lengthened by a huge amount, a whole new pit complex has been built, the infrastructure has been overhauled and the whole venue is now the leading light in heritage GP development.

Rotating tracks is probably the best idea across the board - keeps the calendar fresh, allows new circuits to live alongside the old guard with no prejudice and allows even longer term contracts to negotiated.

The only group who would resist are the track owners who won't get their yearly hit.


After all the hot-air and handwringing about the race in Bahrain, I wonder if we'll have the same debate about ethics and safety when it comes to racing in Mexico and Russia.


Every country has problems.

Mexico has history of being a GP country (they already have a circuit) and it's likely to be largely bankrolled by Slim, should Perez continue climbing the ranks.

Russia has political problems totally different to Bahrain and it's Apples vs. Oranges.


Bahrain annually, Spa once every two years? Does Bernie ever spare a thought for the fans?


Surely spa the best track on the calendar has to be on it every year. Once every 2 years is rubbish. I'd watch spa twice a year. I hate bernie for these rubbish tracks he puts on for more money.


According to Joe Saward the race at Spa may even disappear completely. The contract is up and it's not definite that it will be Spa to alternate with France.

Such a shame that the great tracks are slowly disappearing.


I honestly don't remember Magny Cours for great racing, I thought it was mostly boring - especially compared to Spa. Let's not even talk about the snoozefest that is Valencia.

I am somewhat confused over the direction F1 is taking. I was under the impression that sponsor deals and TV money was the big sources of income, but each time a track is decided all that is talked about are the on-track facilities. They do absolutely nothing for TV viewers, and therefore the sponsors as well. I find it highly unlikely that the actual track attendance is bringing in more money.

At the same time F1 has moved from open channels to pay channels in several countries. This should also limit sponsor exposure, and the sport will likely find it harder to attract new viewers.

Personally, I would never have started to watch F1 if it had been races like Valencia on a pay channel.

I can't help but feel that the glory days are behind F1 and it will become more marginalized as this goes on. They are trying to solve the track problem with DRS and severe tyre degradation, but will artificial racing on tracks with no history really bring new viewers into pay channels?

Maybe I am missing something in how the deals are structured? I guess the deciding party pockets more of the track money and cares less about the sponsorship money that goes to the teams. No wonder cost reduction measures are needed.


Odd, the F1 is based on European viewers. Bernie wants Australia at night for European viewers.

Yet, if you are a fan, you need to go outside of Europa to watch a grand prix? The great venues are scratched for Tilke Dromes, where after a few years, the local government has enough and doesn't renew it's contract. You'll have new GP circuits all over the place and they are hardly used at all.


The loss of an annual race at Spa and the threat to the other European races is a direct result of the Concorde agreement and the fact that the teams are now very likely to sign a new Concorde deal agreement with FOM.

While the commercial rights holder, and CVC in particular, continue to be able to extract huge sums from F1 while contributing nothing, the cost of staging races and spectator tickets will remain far too high.

So much so that Europe cannot any longer compete with places with plenty of cash such as Bahrain.

Take FOM/CVC out of the equation and the teams would earn more while the costs of hosting a race could be dramatically reduced.

We wouldn't then have to put up with sky high ticket prices and races held at the more dreary circuits in front of near-empty grandstands.

Sadly it looks like things won't change and the relentless drive to take ever more cash out of the business are likely to make these problems even worse.


7 / 20 races in Europe. That doesn't seem to bad to me. It is a world championship after all.

My concern....the new tracks are rubbish and they are keeping the wrong European races (alternatively, ditching the best European races).

Although the money is now outside of Europe there is a tightrope to walk with the majority of the fans and teams Europe based. If the viewing figures drop (as the non-Europe races bring money, but not fans - look at the empty grandstands) the sponsors won't continue to invest for a laugh. Then where do we go. Add that to alienating a lot of fans with pay TV etc......

Gotta keep a core audience. No fans = no sport


I think the Middle Eastern races have proved otherwise - the GP there are political toys for oil-rich rulers. They have their grip on various elements of the sport by virtue of their deep pockets and it will just keep going there until the oil/money dries up, CVC/FOM or not.

If Europe sorts itself out by expunging the flagging states (Greece) and really getting Spain, Italy & Ireland together, there might be a renewed push back into the continent.


With the fake improvements for entertainment(?), i.e. DRS & fast-degrading tyres and some of the best tracks being squeezed out while the dull ones kept, it seems our Bernie is intent on running F1 into the ground before his retirement 🙁


Wasn't DRS a development by the OWG in response to the success of the F-Duct? Also, the fast-degrading tyres are Pirelli's response to requests to improve the racing after Bridgestone's tyres were decried as 'boring' by the fans.

Both measures were sanctioned by the FIA. Ofc Bernie has a say, but if he had the final say, Bahrain's back straight & Turn 12 would already be lined with sprinklers.


Having visited Spa ( unfortunately not on a race day ) and stood looking in awe at Eau Rouge corner and incredibly steep hill which the TV cameras do not give justice to, I am saddened that Bernie will reduce the frequency of events here.

It seems that 'silly races in sandy places' are now the norm, half empty grandstands are an embarassment to the promoters of some of these races. I was at the GP at Silverstone last year on a very wet Friday and by 08.30 the grandstand opposite the pits was full. All weekend it was a sell out and the atmophere was electic. I wonder how the drivers feel with such small crowds elsewhere?

Moto GP tell us what the attendance is on the parade lap - Formula One seems not willing to let us know!


Given the furore over Bahrain I think F1 would do well to stay out of such markets: Mexico, Argentina et al. They're fine with China because the west is happy to overlook what goes on over there, too much money to be made.

Away from politics I can't believe that they'd make Spa alternate; if it's not profitable then it's Bernie's unjust and extortionate fees, I went last year and couldn't believe how many Brits (read McLaren fans) made the trip over! I'd prefer to see a French GP slot shared between Magny-Cours (love that track, bar the new S3) and Paul Ricard, Spa should be kept separate!

Let's face it though, F1 needs to come back to Europe, yes it's a World championship and whilst not quite an abject failure, I wouldn't say the trips east are paying off for anyone...


F1s heritage being in and being born on European circuits big questions on the fact they can be in threat??? coming off of the controversial Bahrain leaves very big Questions.


JA, Something that didn't receive much air time was the recent comments from Piero Ferrari. Surely there is a case for the FIA demanding the protection of historic races, guaranteeing those rounds a greater share of the revenue from each race (deducted from the CVC cut). Losing the likes of Silverstone, Monza, Spa, Monaco & Hockenheim/Nürburgring is un-thinkable for a sport with its roots so deeply centred in Europe. It could even be argued that historic S/H events like Kyalami, Australia & Suzuka should also be afforded the same status. This would leave Mr E able to make his $ from the remaining 12/13 events… Surely this will be an increased focus in coming years.


The day they make Spa bi-annual, is the day when a part of F1 is dead.

There is nothing a humble fan can do!!


It's likely already done. F1 still lives, it's just permanently evolving.

There's no guarantee if something positive happens in Europe/negative happens again in the Middle East/Asia that it won't all switch around for next years calendar.


I understand the idea of wanting to move Formula 1 to different venues and countries. It is after all a world wide sport so it makes sense to run around to different parts of the world. Likewise the sponours will want to go to different areas and show off. With that in mind having a 'European' Grand Prix is a complete waste of time not just because the track in Valenica is about as fun and exticing as watching bread in a toaster but also what is the point. I understand that the new tracks must be given time to become historic and gain repuations but if they are bad tracks like Valenica with little soul or style whats the point?

The trouble in my view is that in the new tracks the track dorminate the cars and the racing rather than the older ones where the racing dorminates the track. For example you think of Malayisa you think the start finish straight with its Grandstands whereas you think of Belgian you think of Eau Rouge with the cars flying up the hill.


I disagree with regards to the Sepang Circuit. It's the sweeping fast curves (turns 5, 6, 12 and 13) that everybody like if you're out there.

Tilke did a superb job with the main grandstands and the tower. From the North side, by the pit lane entry, you can see cars through turns 5, 6, and out of turn 15, the last corner. You can also see the back of the grid from there.

From the main grandstands South, you can see half of the track, from turn 8 up to the entry of turn 15.

Surely one of the best tracks to watch a race from. It beats Silverstone hands down as far as the spectacle is concerned (not the atmosphere yet sadly enough).


A common theme of all new Tilke tracks is an in-field section to allow grandstands greater views of more of the racing and it explains the supervised changes made to Hockenheim & Silverstone (the latter still ongoing).

Spa is resistant to this because the circuits geography prohibits massive sweeping change, meaning the circuit will forever remain a TV spectacle rather than an on-site spectacle unless you get one of the limited spectacular seats. This doesn't generate money for the track.


Criminal to let Spa go to every two years when we keep the likes of Valencia and Barcelona (which always seems to turn into a procession).

France has had so many amazing circuits over the decades (Reims, Rouen, Clermont-Ferrand) that it always seemed a waste to be saddled with Magny-Cours, which I never remember producing particularly good races (although someone will no doubt remind me of a corker now).

I always wondered what it would take to get Le Mans to the necessary standard - F1 cars hurtling down the Mulsanne Straight. Fantastic!


Valencia and Barcelona have literally just entered into the same alternating pattern.


I doubt there anyone who likes the idea of only going to Spa every other year and hopefully this deal goes the same way as the one for alternating Fuji and Suzuka.

If Bernie's Grand Slam plan comes into being then surely a circuit with a reputation for being as challenging as Spa would have to be one of the Slams?


Fuji/Suzuka's alternating was dropped because Toyota owned Fuji and they pulled out of the sport?


The parallel for me is that one of the greatest F1 tracks (Suzuka) was paired with a once great circuit that had had its claws pulled (see Fuji's neutered configuration when it returned to F1 and recall Paul Ricard's original Mistral straight). Thankfully the Toyota pull out resulted in an annual dose of Suzuka for all of us and hopefully the deal with the French government goes the "same way" and I get my annual fix of Eau Rouge.


The other option is for Spa to disappear from the calender altogether, as it can't afford the race every year.

Personally, I'd rather it alternated than lose it completely.


There's a third alternative. Make Spa and other circuits that are important from a sporting standpoint commercially viable and stop diluting the sport with new venues that have artificial character and no history.


What else do you expect from Bernie Eccel$tone?

He follows the short term money, regardless of the long term ramifications.


I think he accepts he isn't for the long term, unless his vast billions are being invested in cloning research/hunting for the well of immortality...


Paul Ricard? A track notorious for no access and no facilities? I guess on this basis if Fife District Council paid Bernie enough we could see F1 at Knockhill.


Really this should be part of a plan to lift the lower tiers of motor racing up, push the european crowds and coverage down into 'lower' formulae, and things like the WEC, but it's hard to believe Ecclestone would be looking out for the greater whole of motorsport.


I'm all for lessening the density of European races, but reducing the use of Spa seems ridiculous. Surely the massive TV audience for an exciting track like Spa compensates for any lack of local financial support. ...Hopefully?


The TV audience doesn't provide direct finance for the venue - bums on seats in the grandstand does and Spa is both v. expensive to attend (according to F1 Fanatic's Ticket Price analysis) & not a great venue to spectate unless you're at a few key locations because of it's large expanse.


Still no African continent venue on the calendar?(At least there is some racing history there.) Also, there was rumor that Austria's

A1 Ring would be back?


Always wondered - does Hungary really pay the going rate for a race?


Well, at least we still have Suzuka...


James, two quick questions.

1. Is the Mexican GP scheduled for Cancun? Wasn't there one that stopped development?

2. I assume Tilke will design all future tracks. Since there are four circuit designers recognised by FIA, why is it always Tilke? Although drivers and teams don't complain, fans often do about Tilke-designed tracks.


As an American, I'm all for more races in my time zone, (especially as the .1rl's version of AOWR isn't worth watching) but to swap Spa for Paul Ricard is akin to swapping Ferrari for a clown car league team. Makes no sense for a top tier series...


That said, you can't fit 23 clowns in a Ferrari.

Darrin from Canada

...not at the same time


really? SPA once every 2 years!? and Valencia instead of Montmelo?!?! cancel Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, and other boring tracks, not the cool european ones.. James is the European GP cancelled as well? or will it change circuits again?


I'd have loved it if in the BBC interview with Bernie, Jake had just said, "Well that's a terrible idea isn't it?" and then continued the same way Paxman would grill a politician


I wonder how much is Bernie paying Bernie for hosting a race at Paul Ricard?


There has to be something wrong with a sport when the best circuit is now only scheduled once every 2 years. I guess I don't understand, F1 has taken polls and questionnaires to fans, basically saying they value fan input. Why then is Spa being lessened? It has to be the fans favourite track. Disappointed. Id rather remove Abu Dhabi and Valencia for one Spa race. Pathetic outcome.


I know it's infeasible due to existing contracts, employment law and the lure of money, but surely the best plan would be to guarantee circuits even longer contracts under the provision that they wouldn't necessarily be racing every year.

I'm sure nobody would be complaining about the newer circuits as much if they were equally rotated amongst the older circuits with a divergent calendar drawn up every season.


Dear James,

Perhaps reflective of the current sombre economic mood in Europe. And belgium was unique in the sense that becoz of political differences, they were without a govt for over 500 days in the heart of the european crisis. Will be sad to see SPA not being a annaul feature,

However, something of more serious concern...various f1 websites are talking about ABAAR exiting from Mercedes GP, and Mercedes GP not signing up on the concord agreement...

Would love to have your views on the same


There are some pressures on that situation, indeed.

Aabar if it happens will be a strategic play, nothing to do with F1 probably.

As for Concorde, they are disputing Merc's history. Over recognising it as the same team that won championships in 1950s.


It's more the same team than Lotus is. Isn't Lotus receiving payment for being a heritage team or was that Caterham-Lotus-1Malaysia?


James, Magny Cours has never provided great racing.


I will throw a FIT if F1 goes back to Magny-Cours, one of the most boring race tracks of all time. The only two worthwhile memories I can think of are Trulli getting passed at the last corner by Rubens, and DC's one finger salute on his way past Schumi.

If all circuits were exciting (e.g. Spa, Montreal, Turkey) then there wouldn't be a need for DRS. BUT, looking at what Bernie is doing (and has done) with the schedule, I'm glad we've got DRS, KERS and Pirelli. 😛

One thing on Paul Ricard tho, it has built in sprinklers. Is this going to be the first ARTIFICIALLY WET RACE???

Lawrence Lavery

It is sad that Spa is now no longer a certainty for the F1 championship. The F1 fraternity should do something about it. According to some people the reason it is now not being considered a certainty is it does not make any money. Why? It is as difficult to get to as any other track (e.g. Silverstone, Hockenheim etc). Where there is a will there is a way! To be fair the last time I was there it was basic, but that is part of the charm. Surely, there are enough die-hard F1 fans in the Benelux, NW France and W German area to keep it going. Maybe I'm being ignorant but there's not much to maintain! Regarding the fly-aways B Ecclestone did what he had to do to keep F1 going. The new tracks are okay, in time they will have their own heritage but I do think Hermann Tilke missed a trick in not making them more exciting. To a certain extent we have only ourselves to blame for the lack of races in Europe, poor planning and maybe too much legislation regarding where tracks can be. More street-tracks is the way to go I think. Proper ones not like the ones in Valencia and Melbourne. It would be great to see F1 cars blasting through the streets of someone European capital. There has to be a national or local government somewhere brave and wise enough to put a show like that on!


Seems everyone agrees Bernie's purely motivated by money,not the spectacle.Some even going so far as to say he's trying to drive the sport into the ground.

Here's a hypothesis:

Bernie signs agreements with ever more new circuits,guaranteeing himself massive chunks of income,and traditionally entertaining tracks fall by the wayside.In doing so,he alienates fans,viewer numbers fall,and sponsors start to leave the sport.The net worth of F1 falls,and shareholders look to sell at whatever they can get.Bernie buys a majority shareholding at a bargain price,and turns F1 into a family cash cow by eliminating most other shareholders.

Just a thought...


Think bernie might run out of years before getting there.


There are circuits that should always remain as long as they are up to what is required as far as f1 evolving standards.

Spa seems to have a great amount of fans for a good reason. it is not the only circuit in Europe by far to be justify as such as well.

While Monaco seems out of place to some and to an extent I need to agree. To me it is still a very enjoyable race to follow and is also very much part of the history of f1. With the year we had so far, you could wonder what Monaco will spring.

Other tracks outside of Europe should remain for their particular race requirements & history.

We have lost many good old tracks to newer venues that at time seem a poor deal for the fans. It is not all bad but I feel we would not miss some of those new venues one bit should they be removed from the calendar.

Europe as the cradle of f1, should retain a fair share of the races. as the ratio is today seems to be a good split.

While I can see the logic for some venues to alternate the staging of races for financial reasons, I strongly feel some events should be schedule every year for what they have and still bring to the f1 table. I even feel some circuits should be paid by f1 for them to go there. Of course I am dreaming. Marc


I realize Spa may not be worth keeping even if you consider how good its races tend to be... but I hope that factor does get fair consideration.

F1 has spent a lot of money to improve the racing (DRS, tire changes, aero regulation revisions), but racing at Spa instead of Barcelona or the Hungaroring has a similar effect. F1 should try to put a value on that, and compare it to the money that can be made by dropping that track.


Abu Dhabi: Ultra Boring

Valencia: Boring

Spain: Boring

Korea: Boring

Singapore: Boring

Malaysia: Boring

Bahrain: Boring

China: Good race this year but uninspiring circuit.

So let's cull the best circuit on the calendar.

At this rate the corporate sponsors won't have any viewers.


Biggest worry is the lack of attending fans at most of that spoken of venues should the lack of real time attendance not be a bigger factor than host pay revenue etc, Sport????.

There always quite deliberate to avoid camera shots at a lot of the stands at some events as opposed to others you will note.


I think I am in the minority in being in favor for most of the changes mentioned by James, having read many of the comments before me. Lets take it one by one:

France is a major country in Europe and one full of history for F1. Its good for them to have it back. I have to agree however with many commentators that the track has not offered a lot of thrills. My fondest memory is of a win by David Coulthard there winning some days after his plane accident. I don't like losing Spa once every two years though, it could become the European Grand Prix on a permanent basis

Mexico GP? Great idea, the people there are passionate about motorsport and it could rotate with Austin in my opinion. Getting the most rich person in the world involved with the sport will surely help, making the project financially viable

Russia GP. Another major country and would be interesting to see a follow up being created.

Alternating the two Spanish GPs also is a great idea. I would in fact go one step further and would remove the Valencia circuit as is has been a major flop.

New jersey and Austin are good idea to increase the penetration of the sport to the US market.

On Argentina, I have some of the same concerns mentioned by the fellow commentators. Really poor country, infrastructure is not great, but they have a history on the sport.

Although not mentioned by James one could live without Korea and Bahrain. Do we really need two GPs in Middle East? I doubt it. Korea also is not a great circuit but it is too early to judge to be fair.


I'd love to see Magny Cours back on the calendar, fingers crossed!


great track, terrible for racing!

don't think i've ever seen any series put on a decent race there, even gp2 struggled & they managed to put on great racing just about everywhere.


At this rate how long can it be before someone finally says "Stuff Bernie and F1" and starts a new formula based in mainly Europe and with sensible rules that allow innovation, awsome speed and power and excitement for MOTOR RACING fans ( after all "thug ball is only made to appeal to thugs and and their ilk so why shouldn't motor racing be for the fans, why are we trying to attract the thug culture to our illustrious sport? oh yes I forgot -- money !!)


If only Steve.

Proper cars with tyres that last enabling drivers to drive on the edge, no stepped noses and above all else...V10 engines.

Glory Be


That's a point i was going to pick on no matter what of Bernie's hear threats say the one GP at the end of the day he would not dare axe would be the British that would simply be the biggest possible trigger for a break away series by all the teams without a doubt. And he would fully well be aware of that when push comes to shove.


isn't Bernie acting as the promoter for Spa?

seem to remember that been the main reason it came back onto the calender a few years ago.


Many of the complaints here seem to be people arguing with the oldest truism in the books: Rule#1: Money talks, BS walks.

If ppl can't put on a race and make a buck they're not going to do it. Sentimentality to the contrary, NObody works for free.

You want to save the race at Spa? Go to the race, spend your money so the organizers do it again next year. Otherwise... see rule #1.


I thought Todt only seeked one term when he was elected in 2009?


Lets not fool ourselves thinking that its all Bernie/CVC. The teams need to go where their sponsors can promote their product. Going to tracks in countries where F1 is less traditional expands the teams's sponsors reach, therefore adding value to the sponsorships. I really hate to be loosing Spa, its really a breathtaking track, and it always produces great racing. But I dont think the teams really care where the race as long as it keeps the money flowing.


It doesn't take a genius to work out that a win at Spa or Monaco means much, much more to a driver than a win at Bahrain or Valencia.

As a fan, I think losing this circuit annually cheapens the value of the drivers title and the tradition of visiting here will be diminished.

Please Bernie, retire and relinquish these critical decisions to someone who has the sports best intererst at the forefront of their thinking. Not the wealth of their family.


F1 is at a Golden Era, the likes that haven't been seen since Prost, Senna,Mansell, Piquet etc raced. For the next several years, we have 6 world champions on the grid, this year, all of them have the possibility of winning a race. In two decades time when we look back at this golden era and these gods of Motorsport, we'll see them racing around boring tracks, that were raced on a few times. In 20 years time, I want to reminisce about seeing this golden era racing around the great tracks that all the previous greats raced on. Imola, Spa, Monza, Silverstone, Nurburgring etc. I wonder what the calendar would look like if Bernie Ecclestone didn't get paid a commission from negotiating the track fees. Times like now I reminisce, not back to the great tracks being raced on by the greats, but of a picture of a black and blue faced man getting mugged in London. How ironic, the worlds greatest mugger, being done by a couple of London cronies. Makes me smile.


The times, they are a changing... even the Nurburgring isn't the Nurburgring any more.


I'm just about done with Bernie and his constant messing with things. He did a good job of developing the sport from what it was but now he is tinkering with the very foundation stones of F1.

Spa is widely acknowledged as one of the best racing circuits in the world, why oh why, would you let money get in the way of having the best drivers in the world go around it in the best cars in the world at ridiculous speeds? Especially when you're already a Billionaire!!


Several things to say:

1. Spa is one of the, if not THE best race tracks in the world. Why make it alternate with France?

2. It makes me sad to see that F1 is now a game of who pays the most. This should NOT be what F1 is about 🙁

3. Glad to see Valencia won't bore us too much now 🙂

I think Bernie should stop being so greedy.


A proper World Championship visits every continent. The future for F1 is global - not European, and so long as the 'founding fathers' spa, silverstone, monaco, monza etc reamain on the calendar - even if there are but 5 or 6 of them - then so be it.

Bring on Mexico, Argentina, Russia, New Jersey.

This sport will grow and prosper as a true global world championship.

One has to admire Bernie's vision.


First comment since the days James used to answer my questions on ITV Q & A.

Its odd to me that the 'old' tracks, where F1 heritage and history is always provide the most entertainment, look at the new Tilke tracks from recent years designed specifically with better racing in mind..., Valencia, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, all only become entertaining because of the, gimmicks Pirelli tyres, and the DRS zones, take these away and you would probably end up with the worlds most expensive traffic jam.

For pure F1 fans removing such tracks off the calender removes alot of the wheel to wheel combat.


Fans have put up with a lot of changes and continued to watch the sport.

But ditching Spa when there are some absolutely abject circuits still on the calendar is like scrapping the FA Cup as opposed to The Johnstone Paints trophy.


That would be an interesting poll. GPs not currently on the calendar, which fans would like to see back on. Any doubt that Imola would be top of that list?


Singapore, Valencia, the upcoming New Jersey circuit and dare I say it, Monaco should not be on the calendar. Nor should any street circuits (exceptions being Montreal and Albert Park, as these are not really true street circuits).

Monaco is only kept on the calendar because of nostalgic reasons. If the city of Monte Carlo had never held a single GP and an F1 race proposal using this street circuit was put forward to the FIA, it would be rejected in a heartbeat. It is not only unsafe but as the margins for error are so low, most drivers do not really push their cars to the limit. Sure, they drive fast but there is always more to give from both car and driver. The GP result is usually determined on Saturday afternoon or perhaps the fist lap on Sunday. On top of this, the whole event is over glamorised and flamboyant with sheiks, yuppies, playboys, celebrities and scantily clad models who know nothing about and care even less for Formula 1.

Tracks like Imola, Jerez, Magny Cours, Spa, Nurburgring. These are real raceways where true enthusiasts attend.


James, I'm assuming that there is no chance of Monaco or Monza losing their right to stage an F1 race every year at all at the moment, but what do you think of the British Grand Prix? Do you think the fact that so many F1 teams are still based in Britain means the British GP should still be safe every year, or do you think we will also end up having to share our race on rotation with another circuit (perhaps Hungary, looking at what's left)? Or do you think we are at a point where the European market is already squeezed enough?


If you look back over the changes in the last 20yrs, great tracks have gone to be replaced by safe, shopping centre style circuits. Barca is a copy of Estoril, Hungary has always been rubbish (except Mansell on Senna!) and I miss Imola (as a track).

Spa, Pau, Le Mans, Mille Miglia- all are classics which have made motorsport fantastic. Bernie is robbing us of the family silver and replacing it with modern souless replacements.

Who's betting Monza will struggle to keep its place.........



The Russian GP will be held in Sochi, which is in Europe, yet you havent included it in Your list of European circuits. Why is this?


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